the rewards of teaching kids

Posted on: Wed, 11/28/2012 - 22:18 By: Tom Swiss

Sometimes, teaching karate to kids is a thankless task. You're up in front of a room of bored eight-year-olds, several of whom are there because their pediatrician told their parents that martial arts training is good for their ADHD-diagnosed youngster. (Don't get me started about how much of "ADHD" is a socially created and constructed problem...) You're sure that they're all there because Mom and Dad needed to get rid of them for an hour, that they'd rather be playing at being Power Rangers or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles than actually practicing kata. You wonder if you're wasting your time.

And of them goes and immortalizes you in art. And you think, maybe this does matter after all. (Click on the thumbnail for a bigger view in a new window or tab.)

Out of the blue, one of my young students gave me this drawing yesterday. (It's not the first drawing I've been given by a young karateka, but it is the first from one of my own students.) Let me tell you, I've got a big fancy certificate for my yondan ranking, signed by a martial arts living legend, Kaicho Tadashi Nakamura. But Kaicho Nakamura has given out hundreds -- thousands, I guess, over 36 years -- of dan certificates. This young student is probably only going to give a drawing to one karate teacher.

This one will be framed in a place of honor.

(Note the attention to detail -- he's got a brace on my right ankle. And I love how I'm depicted as kicking, punching, and laughing at the same time. Ha ha!)

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